Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
World
On The Scene

Starr: Libya has scientific expertise on WMD

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr

Story Tools

more video VIDEO
President Bush announces that Libya has agreed to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction. (December 19)
premium content
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
On the Scene
Barbara Starr
Arms Control
Libya

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Col. Moammar Gadhafi has agreed to let international weapons inspectors enter Libya and says his country will dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programs, President Bush said Friday.

For more on the military implications of this announcement, CNN's Lou Dobbs spoke with Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

STARR: Well Lou, here at the Pentagon [there is] always a heavy dose of reality and caution when any of these types of announcements come.

In terms of the military implications, one of the first things people say to remember is that Libya, like other countries that have weapons of mass destruction programs, has scientific expertise, irrespective of [its] weapons ... or missiles ... [It has] a research and development community, people who have expertise on these problems.

One of the key questions will be, where are those people, what other countries may they have gone to, what countries may they be helping?

Now, [regarding] Libya's long-range missiles ... [which] would [be] the delivery mechanism, presumably for any nuclear, chemical or biological weapon, it's been many years since the U.S. ... has believed that Libya's long-range missile program is ... practical [and] workable.

It had largely been theoretical for many years. Libya had not invested in the technical expertise, the engineering and testing that made anybody think its long-range missile program was [a] credible threat. Again, that gets back to the question, what about all of the scientists [who] worked on the programs?

In terms of its chemical and biological programs, it had largely been believed that the biological program was mainly a research-and-development program ... But in the chemical arena, there had been an understanding that Libya may have developed as much as 100 tons of mustard blister-type agent, [and] sarin chemical weapons.

There were two plants that posed significant concern in recent years to the United States, that was a chemical weapons plant at place called Rabta. It had shut down and become a pharmaceutical plant, according to the Libyans. That's a place the U.S. and the international inspectors are going to want to go to and inspect.

There is another facility called Tarhuna. This came to light several years ago. It was a facility built deep underground in a hillside. At the time, the Libyans claimed that it was so strong, so deep underground, it could withstand an aerial attack, a bombing attack. That plant apparently [has] gone into mothball, but it is certainly another major underground facility that international inspectors are going to want to look at.

In terms of their nuclear program, the Libyans had been party to some international treaties restricting nuclear proliferation, but in recent years, it had been well understood that they had approached China, the former Soviet Union and Pakistan, and that they had worked on a number of programs for civilian nuclear power. So a lot of concern as well, what nuclear technology and expertise, scientific expertise, they may have gained through that effort.

DOBBS: In nuclear power in Libya, a country [with] fewer than 6 million people [and] producing a million and a half barrels of oil a day, ... the same question [is raised] that the western countries have about Iran: Why in the world do you need nuclear power? Barbara Starr, thank you very much, reporting from the Pentagon.


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.